INDIANAPOLIS — Some of the city’s lead crime-fighting groups acknowledge Indy’s violence is at a tipping point and requires collaboration from all groups working on prevention in the city.
Saturday, the city’s Office of Public Health & Safety along with Big Homies of America and the Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition are joining together for an important community conversation. You can learn more about the gathering here.
“The solution is figuring out what the problem is. Boom,” Shane Shepherd, BHOA President, said. “Poverty, under education, lack of opportunities.”
Shepherd believes the city must focus its resources on the people most likely to become the victims or the perpetrators of violence.
“Whatever their barriers are, break them down,” Shepherd said. “Build them up, put them to work in the same places that they live.”
Shepherd said some of those barriers include substance abuse struggles, nonviolent offenses, lack of transportation.
Saturday’s meeting begins at 10:00 a.m. and goes until noon for men ages 35 and older. Then, young men from 16 to 35 are invited to an “influencers open house.” The event website urges people who know men in this age range to share this event with those at risk of being impacted by violence.
“Between the ages of 14 and 24, half the deaths of Black males in this country are homicides,” Harrison said. “It is the leading cause of death. I don’t want no family to see their loved one killed or sent to prison.”
The organizers hope people who are committed to crime reduction and prevention will both talk and listen during the meetings.
“Whether we’ve been friends or not, if we have differences of opinion on the work, we have one common goal and that is to get out here and help our young people and lower this violence,” Shonna Majors, Director of Community Violence Reduction, said.
Shepherd said the next step after Saturday’s meeting is to bring a focused plan to put young people to work and connect them to necessary resources to business leaders and elected officials.
“That money that you got to give out to fight your crime, focus in on getting these men taught now so by the time it gets warm, they can be swinging hammers in 16 Tech,” Shepherd said.